About 200 gather in Syracuse to discuss child safety, recent string of alleged abduction attempts

Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-06 23:43:14-05

SYRACUSE, UTAH - Police in Syracuse say parents are doing a great job teaching their kids about strangers.

Police chief Garrett Atkins met with the community Friday night to discuss recent abduction attempts and tell them what they can do to help keep their community safe.

“I want you to know, that we are absolutely dedicated to the safety of our children,” Atkins told the crowd of about 200 attendees.

He spoke frankly about each of the recent incidents. They all happened within a few blocks of each other, and each time a stranger, or group of strangers, tried to coax a child to get in their car. All of the children involved ran and are OK. Atkins said that shows parents are talking to their kids and that kids are listening.

Atkin said, overall, the city is doing better than others in the county in terms of crime. Crime statistics put Syracuse as the second safest city in Davis County in 2013. He said the same statistics ranked the city the safest in 2012. They were all comments that gave parents like Aubrie Litster peace of mind, but they said they’ll still be more vigilant.

“I think a lot more people are mindful of where everyone else’s kids are, even if they don’t have kids,” Litster said. “I’ve got some neighbors who are older and don’t have kids anymore, and their presence in the front yard is a little bit more lately.”

The police chief said parents organized the meeting to talk about crime in the area, and about what more they can do to protect their kids. He told the parents he thinks they’re already doing a good job, but there’s still a lot of people on edge.

Atkins said the best thing parents can do to prevent abduction is to have that conversation. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has some tips on ways to talk to your kids, but Atkins said one of the best ways to help kids is role play--so they know exactly what to do in that situation.